Antonio Conte targeted six more wins to clinch the Premier League title and write history after Chelsea’s pivotal 2-1 victory over Manchester City at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea showed resilience in responding from their surprise loss to Crystal Palace and the gap at the top remained seven points as second-placed Tottenham came from behind to win at Swansea.
Goalkeeping errors contributed to the opening goals as Eden Hazard shot through Willy Caballero and Thibaut Courtois gifted City an equaliser, scored by Sergio Aguero.
Hazard saw a penalty saved by Caballero, but tucked in the follow up to give Chelsea a 2-1 half-time lead which they would not relinquish.
Conte’s Chelsea need 18 points in their remaining eight games to clinch the title.
They face Bournemouth next and Conte called on Hazard and his team-mates to make the season a memorable one.
Conte said: “Tottenham could win eight games. For this reason to win the title we need 18 points. I think this is the best way for us (to think).
“(Hazard) is an important player. Also he’s growing in his mentality. I think he’s playing a really good season.
“This season for all my players, for me, we will remember this season if we win.
“We must be focused and try to win six games and take three points (six times). If we are able to do this, we will win the title.
“Otherwise it will be a good season, but not a great season.
“We will remember this season if we win. Usually I like to say only who wins write the history.”
Conte is short of motivational words.
He added: “In Italy for me, honestly, (it) was easier to find the right words to motivate my players.
“But I try. I try to push sometimes with the words, sometimes wave my hands. Six wins.
“It wasn’t easy, but when you play against City, it’s normal to suffer in some part of the game.
“But I think we suffered as a team in the right way. It was a good win for us, above all because when you play after a bad defeat against Crystal Palace, where I think we didn’t deserve to lose.
“In this part of the season it’s not easy, because the pressure is very high.
“To drop points in this moment is not good, because you give hope to your opponent.”
City had hope, but John Stones spurned a stoppage-time opportunity to equalise.
Pep Guardiola, previously in charge at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, had never experienced home and away championship defeats to the same opposition manager. Now he has.
The City boss believes his side were superior at the Etihad Stadium in December and here, but were beaten by “the details” in the penalty areas.
Guardiola, who felt City’s performance was better than in Sunday’s draw at Arsenal, said: “Absolutely (City were better than Chelsea). But it’s not enough.
“They got six points. We got zero. Football is results. Today I’m happier than the Arsenal game when we got one point.
“We play for us. We compete against us. The opponent is there, but the performance is for ourselves.
“I don’t like to be reactive. I like my teams to be proactive.
“I like to convince my players to play in that way. After that you can win, you can lose.
“The way we played, I’m so satisfied. I’m a lucky guy to be here with them.
“Today the Premier League is gone and in the last eight games, we have to think to qualify for the Champions League.”
While City are out of title contention, 14 points behind Chelsea, Guardiola believes Tottenham “is there”.
Guardiola, who had no complaints over the penalty award for Fernandinho’s trip of Pedro, reckons City’s season might have been different had they beaten Chelsea at home four months ago.
He added: “The game in Etihad against Chelsea was a key point in our season in the Premier League.”
Neither Conte nor Guardiola saw Diego Costa catch Vincent Kompany with his studs in midfield. The incident appeared to be seen by referee Mike Dean.